Mar 25, 11:17 AM EDT

Lawyer expects plea deal in Chicago terrorism case


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CHICAGO (AP) -- An attorney for a suburban Chicago man accused of seeking to join al-Qaida-affiliated fighters in Syria has told a federal judge the defense expects to seal a plea agreement.

Abdella Tounisi's (too-NEE'-seez) attorney, Molly Armour, disclosed progress toward a deal at a Wednesday status hearing in Chicago. Neither side mentioned possible terms.

The 20-year-old was arrested at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport in 2013 trying to board a Turkey-bound plane. Prosecutors say the then-teenager from Aurora hoped to join Nusra Front.

Armour first disclosed plea negotiations in January. Judge Samuel Der-Yeghiayan (DEHR'-YAY'-gee-ahn) set the next status hearing for May 25.

Tounisi has denied trying to provide material support to a terrorist group. His maximum prison term would be several decades. Defendants who agree to plead guilty typically receive more lenient sentences.

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